Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity - Towards a Dynamic Theory of People and Place - Vaia Touna

Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity - Towards a Dynamic Theory of People and Place - Vaia Touna

9. Reply to Russell T. McCutcheon: Navigating the Politics of Comparison

Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity - Towards a Dynamic Theory of People and Place - Vaia Touna

Leslie Dorrough Smith [+-]
Avila University
Dr. Dorrough Smith's most recent research focuses on the cultural significance of American Conservative Protestant rhetoric, with special emphasis on the Christian Right. Many scholars who study the Christian Right (NCR) often account for the movement's popularity and distinction by pointing to its absolutist moral positions, its religious fervor, and its selective embrace of seemingly anti-modernist platforms. Unlike other theories of conservative power that focus on the allure of such moral absolutes, Dr. Dorrough Smith's work shows how these absolutes are really not the defining quality of the movement. Rather, they are the byproduct of a certain type of rhetoric (which she calls "chaos rhetoric") that uses chaos, rather than order, imagery to induce persuasion and thereby secure social power. Her work focuses on the linguistic engineering involved in producing chaos rhetoric, and how such movements depend on the strategic manipulation of specific cultural symbols to naturalize and "sell" their political interests.

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In the main chapter of this section, I argued that many Western feminist scholars are often quite willing to overlook the conservative political interests of many international women’s groups by calling such groups “feminist” so as to create the sense of a diverse and multicultural feminist movement. Mine is not a popular conclusion to reach, I note, since making such a statement reveals a clear double standard that is still present in some feminist activism. In response, Russell McCutcheon pondered whether my unpopular argument was like another controversial piece of scholarship from scholar Rebecca Tuvel, who infamously claimed that if a transgender identity is possible, then we must logically acknowledge the possibility of a transracial identity as well. In the present chapter, I consider the nature of McCutcheon’s comparison between my conclusion and Tuvel’s, and maintain that their similarities reveal the enduring life of certain unspoken biases in scholarship today

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Dorrough Smith, Leslie . 9. Reply to Russell T. McCutcheon: Navigating the Politics of Comparison. Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity - Towards a Dynamic Theory of People and Place. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 155-165 Jan 2019. ISBN 9781781790731. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35646. Date accessed: 13 Jul 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35646. Jan 2019

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